Classical Dressage and the Golega Fair

This riding holiday offers a special treat for riders who love classical dressage! Once a year there is a Horse Fair in the town of Golega and hundreds of horses and riders converge upon the town. It is possible to combine a visit to the fair with dressage lessons on Lusitano horses at our local dressage centre.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Dressage stays
8 days / 5 or 6 days riding -
From £0
Open to non-riders
  • Lusitano horses and dressage lessons
    Dressage lessons on Lusitano horses
  • Golega Fair in Portugal
    Discovering Golega Fair
  • Lusitanian horse and dressage in Portugal
    Dressage on beautiful Lusitanian horses
  • Portugal and Golega Fair on horseback
    Visit Golega Fair in Portugal
  • Classical dressage in Portugal
    Improve your dressage skills in our Quinta in Portugal
  • Portugal and accommodation on a riding holiday
    Accommodation in Portugal
  • Dressage riding in Portugal
    Classical dressage with Georges Malleroni
  • Lusitano horses and dressage in Portugal
    Deautifully schooled Lusitano dressage horses



- Two days at Golega Fair, when the town of Golega transforms into a lively hosey hub with shows and parades - a unique experience for horse lovers.
- Watch a show at the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art
- Four days of dressage lessons in small groups of 2-4 riders (one or two lessons each day by prior arrangement)
- Ride beautifully school Lusitano dressage horses
- Non riders are welcome
  • Day 1 1 : Europe - LISBON - 1 or no lesson

    Your flight to Lisbon can arrive at any time (not included), although please note that there is no discount if you choose to arrive too late for dinner.

    You will met on arrival at Lisbon airport and transferred to the equestrian centre which is located just 25km from Lisbon. Alternatively you may prefer to hire a car and drive yourself to the centre - we can provide driving directions.

    For those who have booked two lessons a day, and after settling into your room (for arrivals before 2.00 pm), you will have your first dressage lesson this afternoon. If you arrive too late, this lesson will not be reimbursed to you.

    Those who have booked one lesson a day will have time to settle and relax before dinner.
  • Day 2 2 : DRESSAGE - 1 or 2 lessons

    You will have pre-booked either one or two lessons today.
    Each lesson comprises 2 - 4 riders and lasts 1 hour 30 minutes.

    The morning lessons start around 09:30 and the afternoon lessons start around 16:00, although this can vary depending on the time of year and weather.

    Lessons usually start in walk with the chance to practice shoulder-in, leg yielding and travers before moving onto trot and canter. For those with prior dressage experience if may be possible to practice Spanish walk, piaffe, passage or pirouettes. Classical dressage is particularly focused on lightness, beauty and expression.

    If you have chosen only one lesson today, then this could be either in the morning or the afternoon and the rest of the day can be spend relaxing at the centre, by the pool or perhaps off-site visiting Lisbon or Queluz.
  • Day 3 3 :DRESSAGE - 1 - 2 lessons

    Again you will have booked either one or two dressage lessons for today. It is not always possible to request additional lessons once you have arrived so you should be certain to book enough in advance.
  • Day 4 4 : DRESSAGE - 1 or 2 lessons

    Again you will have booked either one or two dressage lessons for today. It is not always possible to request additional lessons once you have arrived so you should be certain to book enough in advance.
  • Day 5 5: DRESSAGE - 1 OR 2 LESSONS

    Again you will have booked either one or two dressage lessons for today. It is not always possible to request additional lessons once you have arrived so you should be certain to book enough in advance.
  • Day 6 6 : GOLEGA FAIR - No riding

    Spend your morning at Golega Fair watching the locals perform the exercises you were practising earlier in the week. After lunch in Golega you will be transferred back to the dressage centre.
  • Day 7 7 : GOLEGA FAIR - No riding

    You will depart early from the dressage centre for the 1.5 hour transfer by road to Golega. Today is the national dressage event at the fair - a national contest for Lusitano colts of 3-4 years old. Your guide will help you interpret each of the horses presented and talk through what the judges are looking for.

    Dinner and accommodation in Golega.
  • Day 8 8 : ALCAINCA - EUROPE - 1 lesson

    After one last morning lesson, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Europe.

Dates & prices

Price details

No departure for this destination. Please contact our travel advisers for more information.
- Flights are not included.

- Rates listed include one lesson a day (1-1h30). If you would like your programme to include two lessons a day, the rate is £1395.

- The riding centre will confirm for one person, but the visit to Golega Fair requires a minimum of four people to confirm.

- Dates are flexible and you can arrive/depart on any day and stay for as long as you like, however, you need to arrive at least the day before the planned visit to Golega Fair. Please contact us for a personalised quote.

- There is a single supplement unless you are willing to share with another rider. If you sign up to the ride singularly and there are no other riders likely to share your room, you will be charged a single room supplement of approx. £77 for your hotel in Golega only. You will then be reimbursed if a sharer is found for you a a later date. Single supplement at the riding school only (6 nights) is £195

- Transfers can be arranged from the airport or Lisbon city centre to the dressage centre at extra cost. From the airport to the centre costs c. £88 return for the vehicle (1-3 passengers); from the city centre to the dressage school costs c. £95 return for the vehicle (1-3 passengers). These are bookable through us. Alternatively you may prefer to hire a car and drive yourself - we can provide driving directions.

- A driver is available during your stay if you wish to take a local excursion, such as to the Portugese School of Equestrian Art, Mafra or Lisbon - these excursions are at additional cost and payable locally.
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

2 English speaking teachers with the leadership of Georges Malleroni


1 horse equipped with the classical dressage saddle and bridle (you're riding several horses during the stay)
4 training session during 1:30 (1 session/riding day)

Inland transports

Transfers riding school - Feira de Golega
Transfers hotel Golega/Feira de Golega


Double room in a local hotel in Golega + breakfast (1 night)
Double room in Guesthouses at the riding school (6 nights)


Full board at the riding school
Breakfast at Golega

Price doesn't include


Free meals at Golega
Beverage and personal extra


Tips to local team


Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation



Single room supplement at the hotel in Golega
Single room supplement at the riding school


Airport transfers on destination (bookable through us)
We are currently updating our dates and prices they will be online soon. If you want details of this holiday, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Equestrian info


There are approximately 20 horses available for guests and they are all pure-bred or part-bred Lusitano's. Some are stallions but mainly they are geldings. The horses are at varying levels of training, so there are schoolmasters for intermediate riders or those just starting out in dressage as well as horses capable of producing high school movements for experienced riders.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You should be able to walk, trot and canter and be a confident rider.
Riders who have some prior experience of dressage will get the most from this holiday. An understanding of some basic terms, such as shoulder-in is required. The centre cannot cater for beginner riders. You will be expected to wear a hard hat when mounted and please note that we can not guarantee that your lessons will be with a particular instructor.

Rider weight limit - 89 kg / 13.5 stones. Heavier riders please contact us.


Depending on your experience you will work in all three paces and may include movements such as shoulder-in, travers, half pass, piaffe etc.

Tacking ability and participation

You will be expected to assist with grooming, tacking up and untacking your horse each day but grooms are available to assist you if necessary.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

No special difficulties, but a prior knowledge of basic dressage is required. You will get more out of the tuition if you have some experience of basic dressage terms, such as shoulder-in.

Equestrian equipment

Spurs and sticks will be made available to you if the instructors feel you require them.

Helmets are mandatory. We recommend all our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.

Travel info


The guesthouse at the dressage centre has four twin rooms on site, each with private bathroom and located close to the stables. There are also an additional three twin rooms just over the road. The dining room, communal living area with TV and bar, as well as the unheated swimming pool are all available year round.

In Golega you stay in a standard hotel with twin rooms with private bathrooms.


You eat all your meals in the dining room at the riding centre, which overlooks the indoor arena.

Breakfast is continental and buffet style.
Lunch is light such as quiche and salad.
Dinner is usually fish or meat with salads and vegetables. The focus is on traditional Portugese cuisine and all is prepared locally by the chef.
All drinks and wine are included.


Portugal has a pleasant climate with mild temperatures all year round:
Winter: 12 - 15c
Spring: 20 - 25c
Summer: 30 - 35c
Autumn: 15 - 20c
There is rarely rain during the summer months, but rain is common in winter and can occur in spring also.

Guide and local team

There are two main instructors and it is likely that you will have lessons with one of them throughout your stay for continuity and consistency in your training.

Mario Cardoso, who speaks English and Portuguese, is specialised in the training of young horses, as well as being a regional champion in Working Equitation.

An accomplished dressage rider, Mario has worked and trained with Bruno Carrilho (owner of the Lusitano sport horse stud farm Quinta dos Cedros), Miguel Ralão (dressage rider, Olympic), João Moreira, José João Dinis, Vasco Freire’s Dressage Plus (one of the most important stud farm of Lusitanian sport of the moment), as well as riding in shows alongside Miguel Fonseca (several times world champion of working horse) across all of Portugal.

Sérgio Henriques, who speaks English and Portuguese, is a rider with extensive experience in the Working Equitation Discipline. He has competed in the National Working Equitation Championship for several years, accomplishing a Bronze Medal in the Portuguese Working Equitation Cup. Currently, he is a judge in the Regional and National Championships and in the Portuguese Working Equitation Cup. He is also a Portuguese Equitation Judge.

More recently, Sérgio started competing in National Dressage Competitions. Sérgio has sought to evolve as a rider, participating in several classes and clinics with the riders, Eng.º Bento Castelhano, Pedro Torres, Jorge Sousa, Miguel Ralão Duarte, and Nuno Chaves de Almeida.


Tips are appreciated but not expected. You should give what you feel is appropriate and you feel comfortable with.

Packing list

- Helmets are mandatory. Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you take your own helmet to ensure a correct fit.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses

Upper body
- Long sleeved shirts to provide protection from the sun
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm polar fleece or equivalent, particularly in winter
- Waterproof jacket - rain can be difficult to predict and it's better to be prepared.

- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long boots, particularly if you are used to riding in them.
- Lightweight shoes for the evenings
- Several pairs of socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun whilst riding

- Pyjamas etc (something warm in winter as the nights can be cold)

Our Recommendations
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!

Other useful items
- Swimsuit - the pool is open during summer months
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)

In your luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag.

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat

Medical kit
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

Did you know?

Did you know?

Golega Fair has been running since the mid eighteenth century, but up until 1972 it was called the Saint Martin Fair.

The National Horse Fair is run in Golega town every November. Golega has become known as the capital of Lusitano breeding and during the fair, breeders and competitors bring their best animals to parade and be sold. What started as a simple fair has become one of the most beautiful and unique equestrian events in Portugal.

For more information you can visit the fair's own website here.

The dates for each event at the fair are often not released until a few months beforehand, and so the exact itinerary of our riding holiday combining Golega Fair with classical dressage tuition is not available until that point. Our partners aim to ensure that you visit some of the best shows on offer at the fair and so please do bear with us regarding dates and prices if they are not showing. Or contact us to express your interest and we will ensure you are the first to know!

If you are attending the Golega Fair, do take some time to appreciate the riders parading in the traditional Portuguese riding costume... But it's not only about the horse! Made with expensive fabrics, these outfits were mainly used by the nobility back in the 18th century. However, it didn’t take long for the lower classes to create their own versions with the resources available to them. These changes led to a wide variety of different fabrics, and small details that differ from the very first models. Nowadays, the traditional outfit includes three mandatory pieces: dark coloured trousers and hat, and a white shirt. The full costume also includes a jacket and a waistcoat worn underneath.

The main difference between the male and female costume is the skirt which has a cut in the middle, opening a slit in the front so that the woman can ride with one leg on each side of the horse. The use of trousers under the skirt seems to have been inspired by an episode that occurred at court in 1766, when the Queen of Portugal, D. Maria Vitoria, broke all rules by riding in the modern style!

In the manufacturing of the costume, hatters, tailors, shoemakers and other craftsmen perpetuate the techniques passed down from generation to generation, all contributing to the true institution that is the Portuguese equestrian costume.

On the blog

Every year, around the 2nd and 3rd week of November, the National Horse Fair of Portugal takes place in the small charming town of Golega, often known as Portugal's Capital of the Horse. The fair is centred around celebrating and showing off the amazing capabilities of the famous Portuguese horse breed, the Lusitano, and it has inspired many dressage and horse lovers over the years. We wrote about this fabulous equestrian event on the blog